Elena Elkin, PhD

Associate Attending Outcomes Research Scientist

Elena Elkin, Associate Attending Outcomes Research Scientist

Office Phone



Harvard University

Current Research Interests

Dr. Elkin’s primary research interest is evaluating determinants of cancer screening, treatment and outcomes using population-based observational data analysis, decision analysis and patient surveys. Her current research focuses on the development of patient-centered tools to facilitate decisions about cancer screening. Funded studies include prospective evaluations of a web-based decision aid for women in their 40’s considering screening mammography and a similar tool for current and former smokers considering low-dose chest CT for lung cancer screening. She also conducts cost-effectiveness analyses of health and medical interventions, including a patient-directed program to increase screening mammography in survivors of Hodgkin lymphoma and a multi-faceted intervention to increase skin cancer screening in childhood cancer survivors. Dr. Elkin also advises a number of trainees and junior faculty members in studies of cancer treatment patterns, complications, survival and costs using the population-based SEER-Medicare dataset. Other research interests include studying the economic impact of cancer treatment on patients, their families and the health care system, and understanding and improving clinical decision-making processes from both patient and provider perspectives.

From September 2016 through August 2017, Dr. Elkin served as Congressional Fellow in the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship program. As part of this program, Dr. Elkin worked in the office of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. In her role as a Health Policy Fellow, Dr. Elkin prepared reports and contributed to draft legislation on a wide range of federal health policy topics, including patient safety and hospital-acquired infections, primary care reimbursement, prescription drug prices, the Affordable Care Act, graduate medical education, and Medicaid fraud.


Selected peer-reviewed publications:

  1. Elkin EB, Pocus VH, Mushlin AI, Cigler T, Atoria CL, Polaneczky MM. Facilitating informed decisions about breast cancer screening: development and evaluation of a web-based decision aid for women in their 40s. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak, 2017;17-29.

  2. Elkin EB, Atoria CL, Leoce N, Bach PB, Schrag D. Changes in the availability of screening mammography, 2000-2010. Cancer, 2013;119:3847-3853.

  3. Elkin EB, Marshall DA, Kulin NA, Ferrusi IL, Hassett MJ, Ladabaum U, Phillips KA, Economic evaluation of targeted cancer interventions: Critical review and recommendations. Genet Med, 2011;13:853-860.

  4. Elkin EB, Ishill NM, Snow JG, Panageas KS, Bach PB, Liberman L, Wang F, Schrag D. Geographic access and the use of screening mammography. Med Care, 2010;48:349-356.

  5. Elkin EB, Bach PB. Cancer’s next frontier: addressing high and increasing costs. JAMA, 2010;303:1086-1087.

For a complete list of publications: